13 Ways To Make The Most Of A Long Layover
As budget travellers, we often find ourselves booking the cheapest flights with long layovers. Rather than sulking over the inconvenience, turn the experience around by making the most of your time waiting for your next flight.
Here are some ideas to keep yourself amused on a long layover.
1. Catch up on your reading.
Take advantage of your free time to read a good book. If you don't want the bulk of a thick novel, opt for a short book that you can finish in a day. Then leave it at your next hostel or with someone you meet along the way.
Here are some of my picks for easy reading that will inspire you to travel and live light:
Especially on multiple layovers and weird arrival and departure times, there's nothing better than getting a couple of hours of rejuvenating sleep. Find a vacant spot, put your backpack under your head or store it in a locker, use an inflatable pillow for some head support, and doze off.
3. Review your itinerary.
Another great way to pass the time is to review your itinerary. Take out all your reservation printouts and put them in order, or write down quick notes about the places you'll visit. If the airport's got free internet, you can do some extra research on the places you'll visit or how to get there by public transport.
Jot down what you want to remember from this trip. You can be as elaborate or as simple as you want. There are times when I'm feeling particularly motivated and would write paragraphs and paragraphs of entries about all the places I've visited and people I've met. As a blogger, taking down notes from my trip's been helpful in drafting my posts later on. I also write down all my expenses and review them every so often so I stay within my budget.
5. Back up your photos.
It's easy to accumulate photos on your phone and camera when travelling, so take the time to go through them, delete duplicates, and get rid of the bad ones. This way, you can have more space in your devices and will make sorting your photos easier when you get home. I usually connect to the internet whenever I can and do my backup using Google Photos. It's totally free!
6. Charge your devices.
You'd normally be out and about the whole day snapping photos of the amazing sights in the place you're visiting, and a layover can be a great time to charge your phone and/or camera. Most airports have charging areas for your convenience. Just make sure you come with an adapter.
Alternatively, you can also bring a power bank so you can charge from anywhere.
7. Declutter your bag/wallet.
I always find it therapeutic to go over my stuff and throw away chocolate wrappers (I almost always end up with several!), brochures I won't use anymore, and other stuff that's taking extra space on my bag.
8. Take a walk.
Take a short walk around the airport and stretch your legs. You can also take this time to refill your bottle from the water fountain or do some last-minute souvenir shopping (only the ones you think they'll really use and like) for your loved ones back home.
9. Freshen up.
Brush your teeth, wash your face and hands, comb your hair, or retouch your makeup. A long layover can be a great time to freshen up and get ready for your next flight or trip.
I swear by wet wipes to get cleaned up.. they're the second best thing to having a shower. I also make sure I'm wearing panty liners on a long-haul flight and change them on a long layover. That way, I'll feel fresh for longer.
For no-frills brushing, you can go for wisps. You don't even need water... just brush and go!
10. Write a postcard.
Sending a postcard's always been part of my travels, and I sometimes take advantage of some idle time on the airport to write postcards to friends. Most airports have souvenir shops from where you can buy postcards and stamps and mailboxes in which to drop them.
If you'd like some creative ideas on writing and sending postcards, check out this post.
11. Keep yourself full and hydrated.
It's always nice to have a small snack and some water while passing the time. If you need to be up and energized, treat yourself to a cup of coffee, too.
12. Listen to some music or watch a movie.
If you know that you'll have a long trip ahead of you, it won't hurt to save a movie on your laptop or get your happy playlist ready.
13. Explore the city.
For example, on my most recent Central European trip, I had a 24-hour layover in Berlin and squeezed in a free Reichstag tour and a 12-hour layover in Brussels where I was able to explore a bit of the city. I actually think you can book flights with layovers on purpose if you want to visit as many places as you can on a trip.
Long layovers can be both a blessing and a curse. Look at it as a way of spending some well-deserved me-time. Safe travels!
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